Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles Oki, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 Public Affairs
Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2 will be taking part in a community relations project at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, during Knoxville Navy Week, Wednesday, April 13.
A team of Navy divers and EOD technicians will be diving into the aquarium’s tanks to feed fish, clean the aquatic habitats, and interact with aquarium visitors.
“Navy divers are thrilled to share our world-wide mission with the people of Eastern Tennessee,” said Chief Navy Diver (DSW/EXW) Josh Baker. “We love being able to do something outside the norm while also being able to show the public what we do on a daily basis.”
When not in the tank, the divers will be available to speak to visitors about life in the Navy and what it is like being a Navy diver.
“We are extremely delighted to have the U.S. Navy divers dive in Ray Bay in our aquarium during Navy Week. To be able to host such an event involving our military is truly an honor,” said Ryan DeSear, general manager for the aquarium. “Ripley’s has always been and continues to be a huge supporter of all our military personnel. With our new exhibit ‘Pearl Harbor’ opening this year, having the Navy divers diving in one of our aquarium tanks that is part of the exhibit this year is even more exciting.”
Navy Weeks focus a variety of assets, equipment and personnel on a single city for a week-long series of engagements designed to bring America’s Navy closer to the people it protects, in cities without a significant Naval presence.
EODGRU 2, headquartered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story (JEBLCFS), oversees all East Coast-based Navy EOD mobile units, including one forward deployed mobile unit in Spain, as well as EOD Expeditionary Support Unit 2, EOD Training and Evaluation Unit 2, and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, the only East Coast-based mobile diving and salvage unit.
The aquarium is located at traffic light #5 on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and is open 365 days a year.
For information: call 888-240-1358 or see us on the web at www.ripleysaquariumofthesmokies.com.